7 Steps For Effective Communication To Tackle The ‘Elephant In The Room’

Photo: ndab creativity/shutterstock
couple practicing effective communication to tackle the elephant in the room
Expert
Love

Do you want to know how to address the "elephant in the room" and create more intimacy and connection in your relationships? Did you know that uncomfortable topics like this are exactly what’s keeping you from feeling loved?

You need to practice effective communication with your partner in order to get through these emotional roadblocks.

RELATED: 5 Small (But Significant) Ways To Change How You Speak To Your Partner

Effective communication leads to greater love.

If you’re avoiding the more difficult discussions in your relationship, then you’re missing out on feeling good and feeling good more often in your closest relationships.

When you’re able to address the elephant in the room, you’ll be able to work through the blocks that keep you feeling separate.

What is “the elephant in the room”?

The expression “the elephant in the room” is used as a metaphor to represent something that’s obviously there, but not talked about.

It can be within a group of people, between friends, or in an intimate relationship — a sensitive and triggering issue or topic that everyone knows about, but no one has either the courage or know-how to bring out into the open for discussion.

So instead, obvious issues are avoided because it could make people uncomfortable or even enraged.

Issues don’t go away if they're kept in the dark.

The elephant in the room is a huge block for creating healthy, loving relationships.

Though you would think that avoiding the elephant in the room would make for more peace over time, it just creates more resentment in reality.

It’s when you have the skills to discuss them in a peaceful way that will shed light on difficult situations and misunderstandings.

And the misunderstanding can actually be there due to totally wrong assumptions. These wrong assumptions are poison to relationships.

For example, a husband comes home late from work. The wife is convinced he’s having an affair, but he was actually late because he was shopping for her birthday present.

She’s afraid to ask him where he was, but he won’t tell her because the gift is a surprise. She stays fearful and concerned because of her incorrect and destructive assumption. And he has no clue.

Here are 7 steps for effective communication to tackle the "elephant in the room" in your relationship.

1. Be prepared for the conversation.

Process your feelings first, and be ready to discuss the issue in a clear and calm way.

2. Be curious.

Go into the conversation with curiosity, as opposed to already knowing and assuming what’s going on.

3. Stay on topic.

Don’t bring up the past. Stay with the current issue.

4. Be kind.

Monitor the words you use and how you say them.

5. Ask for what you need.

Focus on what you want, and ask for it. Don’t focus on how everything the other person is doing is wrong.

6. Take clear time outs if needed, but never abruptly walk away.

Abruptly leaving a heated conversation hinders understanding. Stay in the conversation.

If and when it gets too triggering for you, clearly state you are triggered, and let the other person know you have to step away to center yourself.

RELATED: The 4-Part Exercise That Is Key To Effective, Zero-Arguing Communication

7. Own your part.

Take responsibility for your part in any conflict. All conflicts are co-created. If you want resolution, you need to be able to get beyond blame and move toward co-creation.

What are the elephants in your room?

How many elephants do you have in the room, regarding your closest relationships? What discussions are you avoiding? And how has avoiding those discussions caused you unnecessary pain?

How “connected” do you feel in your relationships? How important is connection for you?

That includes your connection with yourself. Is intimacy and being authentic of great value to you?

Have you felt that there is something you want to express or discuss, but are afraid to approach the topic with another? You might even experience a pit in your stomach because of it and avoid the topic, fearful you will rock the boat.

Still, somehow, you know that addressing the issue in a heartfelt way would bring you closer to the other person.

This is why you need effective communication.

These instances can make you feel isolated and keep you from feeling alive in your body.

There's a beautiful yogic symbology of the elephant. According to yogic traditions, elephants are the removers of all blocks. In other words, the elephants in the room can be your best friends.

They stand there only to remind you that there’s something you need to address if you want to cultivate more intimacy and connection in your relationships.

The elephant in the room can lead you to living a life that has communication, cooperation, and therefore co-creation. Live a life where you feel more sensually alive in your body and open in your heart. Creating relationships that are kind, caring, and understanding.

The elephant in the room will block your ability to feel love and happiness.

How can you live a fulfilling and happy life when those issues are blocking your energy, bringing you down, and closing you off from love? Unaddressed issues are poison to good relating.

But chances are, you weren’t given the tools for good relating. You didn’t learn how to be more open and free in your relationships.

Instead, common relating patterns are feeling guarded, apprehensive, and assuming the worst. Trusting another when you’ve been hurt in the past is a big block to intimacy and healthy relationships.

Getting the tools to address the elephant in the room productively and putting those tools to practice will create more love in your life. You’ll feel more connected to those you love.

You won’t carry around heavy energy. And it’s your closest relationships that give you an opportunity to practice better relating every day.

Using effective communication gives your relationships power.

In each moment, you have an opportunity to say and do those things that will open or close another’s heart. That’s how much power you have in your relationships and in your life.

If you’re sincere about dissolving the blocks that keep you from connection, you’ll create a lifestyle of healthy living and loving.

But it’s not always easy. It takes courage, commitment, dedication and taking responsibility for your actions to create this more expanded way of living.

But I will tell you, it’s so worth it. You’ll create more fulfilling connections and free yourself from holding onto bad feelings that naturally will come up in close relationships.

Being able to “clear the air” frees you from holding onto things that over time will bring you down. So, start becoming aware of how you communicate or don’t communicate.

Do you use passive-aggressive behavior? Do you pretend everything is OK, until you can’t take it anymore and explode?

What are your unhealthy relationship coping mechanisms? Become aware of them and choose a different path.

This new path and willingness to have those difficult conversations will change your life.

Think about it. Are you currently operating from a place of fear and disconnect, or can you step into love and connection and let the elephant in the room be your friend?

Your guide for removing the blocks that keep you from feeling close to others.

Take a good, hard look at the elephants hanging out in your life. Start letting them work in your favor.

RELATED: Here's Why Your Man Always Seems To 'Shut Down' During An Argument & How Emotional Intelligence Can Help

Sign Up for the YourTango Newsletter

Let's make this a regular thing!

Anna-Thea is an author and Divine Feminine educator. If you want to know how to navigate your negative emotions in a positive way, check out her book, Empower Yourself by Loving Your Body for tools to overcome your struggles.

This article was originally published at Anna Thea. Reprinted with permission from the author.

Author
Expert